Newborn: Is frequent stooling normal?

My baby is three weeks old and she is fed about eight times a day. She has about 8 to 12 bowel movements a day. Is this too frequent?


Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

It is normal for breastfed babies, especially those under five to six weeks of age, to be stooling quite frequently. Some babies have a bowel movement following each feed. A baby under six weeks should be stooling at least two to three times a day.

Around five to six weeks of age, a breastfed baby's output patterns begin to change and his bowel movements may begin to space out -- he may still have several bowel movements a day or may stool only once each week. At this time he should be having regular, substantial bowel movements. An exclusively breastfed baby's stools should be soft and unformed.

Young babies have an immature digestive system. It is also not unusual for them to strain when they have a bowel movement. An exclusively breastfed baby's stools should be soft and unformed.

Spitting up following a feed is also very common. Usually spitting up ends by around six months of age, as your baby is becoming more upright.

Your baby needs to be properly evaluated if:

  • He is not gaining weight or growing normally
  • His vomiting begins to increase and is projectile (shooting across the room)
  • His vomit is green in color
  • He appears to be in pain when he spits up
  • He experiences painful bouts of inconsolable crying
  • You are concerned about his health

Best wishes in mothering!

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